The Top 5 Frustrating Student Comments of 2013
As this year draws to a close, we tend to reflect on our work with students. With the "newness" of 2014, we want to put the past behind us, but we still understand the value in learning from our experiences. The best experiences to learn from are often those that move us, shake us, and of course irritate us! I would like to take the time to recognize some of the student comments made in my classroom during 2013 that really stayed with me during the year. In sharing, my hope is that it will be therapeutic as well as a means to begin the work needed to ensure that I grow as a teacher, leader, and of course a learner. Without further delay, here is a list of my top 5 student comments that genuinely got to me and kept me up at night (somethimes smiling other times shaking my head in disbelief).
5. "Will I actually need the book for this class?"
This is a question that at least 1-2 students asked during the first week of class. Please keep in mind that this book was listed on the syllabus and identified as the required text when the student registered online for the course.
4. "I know this is really boring but..."
This is a statement made during the introduction of the student's in-class presentation. Please keep in mind that one of the objectives of the assignment was to provide the class with INTERESTING video clips or visual aids in order to help the students remember the material for the test. Oh yeah the best part is that at the end of the presentation, the student exclaimed "I told you it was boring." At least she was honest...
3. "Does my research project have to relate to this class?"
This is a question that the student posed after I asked the student how did their work correlate with our class readings/vocabulary. Even after we reviewed the rubric and the student was given additional time to align the work with the rubric, the assignment was submitted in its original "unrelated and irrelevant to our class content" form...
2. Emails from my students that began with "Jennifer" (yes, my first name) or "Hey there" or even no greeting at all.
Last but not least, here is the student comment that scores number one on my list from from 2013:
1. "I'm not as far as I thought I would be in my anxiety therapy. So, I can't do my presentation."
This is taken from an email that the student sent the day prior to her scheduled presentation. Keep in mind, of course the student never presented any documents verifying participation in therapy. I began to think, in addition to the anxiety about speaking in front of the class, now the student would have to deal with the anxiety of a zero for the presentation score, the anxiety for the impact on her overall psychology grade, the anxiety for the impact of the psychology grade on her G.P.A. and so on and so on...
My resolution is simple. I will explore the feedback (the good, the bad, and the funny) that I have received from my students and challenge myself to commit to the prevention of future miscommunications, and excuses next year. What student comments made a home in your heart or head during 2013? How can you use those comments to grow personally or professionally?